In 2017, the word feminism became Merriam-Websters word of the year. Although the idea of feminism has reigned supreme for over a century now, the movement saw a modern resurgence six years ago, with the coming of #MeToo, fresh women empowerment groups, and perhaps the most important of them all focussing on women as a collective whole, rather than individual people.Feminism was also extended to the one area that women tend to neglect health and wellness. Wellness for women has typically been a privilege of a cross-section of the elite and those of higher socio-economic strata who can afford to invest time and money into it. But for women to do so collectively and as a community, every single one of us needs to have access to wellness physical, mental, and emotional.One of the cornerstones of feminism is self-care, says Dr Jeba Unnikrishnan, a holistic health consultant for women. Unless you look after yourself and your extended community, youre not going to get ahead with your goals for an equal world for women. However, feminist women are constantly told that they are primarily activists who put others ahead of themselves, going back to the old trope of women looking after others around them at the cost of their own health and wellness. When we speak of wellness for women, we are not just talking about master health check-ups, birth control, and safe treatment spaces, although these are vital and must be implemented. Wellness for women also refers to relaxing or rejuvenating, whether it is a spa outing or even just a good time spent laughing with friends. Whether women are feminists or self-sacrificing wife-mothers, Ive seen that they face a lot of pressure to constantly prioritise the needs of the movement or their family, more than they actually prioritise themselves. Because were told we can have it all, we are conditioned into wanting it all and then eventually doing it all! Some of us have excellent support systems and the time and resources to invest in ourselves to recharge. But some others do not, and it is they who eventually get the short end of the stick as far as the wellness movement goes. Feminist wellness is actually about trying to do our best to ensure that the entire community of women has the same access to self-care. These are basic human rights. Only then can the feminist movement succeed.Ironically, the burden of caring also falls on the shoulders of women. According to a survey published by the Lancet, a medical journal, only 30 per cent of the doctors in the country are women. However, more than 80 per cent are nurses and midwives. These women are paid significantly lower than their male counterparts earning 28 per cent lesser. Even with this high number of women caregivers, healthcare still remains a far-reaching dream for a lot of girls and women across the board. It isnt just access to healthcare, even medical research on women wasnt the norm 2-3 decades ago. Yet, we had research findings bizarrely applied to women, even as the subjects of the research were only men! The key way forward to change this scenario, is to introduce more women in leadership and decision-making roles in the healthcare sector. It is eventually only representation that will make services more inclusive and equitable.Even today, I see 90 per cent of women coming to me only with their parents or husband or in-laws, says gynaecologist Dr Vishnupriya KK. They come in primarily to make sure theyre well enough to reproduce. If theyre addressing PCOS or thyroid issues, it is to ensure they can get through a pregnancy not because they have to treat themselves for their own sake. The first step to change this is empowerment. Women need to be empowered to take their own health into their hands. We have a lot of medical camps, awareness sessions, and training programmes to educate women, but only a handful of them take it seriously. Access to healthcare has never been easier and there is also so much information on how vital it is. There has to be a focus on a few things for women to do as a group get clean air, nutrition (even now, women prioritise their nutritional needs right at the end), fitness and exercise, hygiene, preventive healthcare with master health check-ups, timely treatment for small issues, spending me-time to prevent burnout and stress. What we can do for other women, is educate them about female wellness in the tech space, showing them how even simple things like period trackers can change their lives. Create online or offline support groups for women looking for a break, and engage in activities that allow them to disconnect and de-stress.Harriet Beecher Stowe said, A womans health is her capital. When we invest in self-care as a whole, were not just breathing life into the womens wellness movement. Were also accelerating women into other spaces that they need to be in boardrooms, research labs, as prizewinning authors and artistes. When you stop becoming a people-pleaser and focus on yourself, your mental well-being, and your physical health, your productivity automatically increases and you start finding the time, energy, and mind space for the things that actually matter. Says Dr Unnikrishnan, The pandemic put a spotlight on mental health, which is so important for women to focus on. Turning to alternative medicine, yoga, meditation, spa experiences, and good sleep can go a long way in ensuring health and happiness for the community as a whole.Lastly, as women, we put pressure on one another to be perfect in every sphere of life, and health is no different. From the perfect period to the perfect body, perhaps we should stop looking at women who tick preconceived boxes and look at happier, healthier, and more balanced individuals who can contribute to the community positively. As Michelle Obama said, Communities and countries and ultimately the world are only as strong as the health of their women.